Lane Kirkland's seat next to Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Jan. 25 State of the Union speech is not the only sign of warming relations between the Administration and organized labor. The AFL-CIO president played a quiet but important role in persuading Polish President Lech Walesa to accept Clinton's new Partnership for Peace in lieu of membership in NATO. Kirkland and Walesa became close when the AFL-CIO provided financial and moral support for the Solidarity movement's fight against Poland's Communist government in the 1980s. Kirkland has also worked with the White House to help pave the way for a Clinton visit to Warsaw after the July economic summit in Naples.
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